Covert Drone War
The use of Predator and Reaper drones (unmanned flying vehicles that are often armed with video-guided missiles) by the US military and CIA is a largely untold story of the "Global War on Terror / Global Contingency Operation" - yet has caused thousands of deaths in Pakistan and Afghanistan, many of whom are women and children.
“The 24-year-old Ibrahim Mothana speaks eloquently and insightfully about what the US is doing to his country. We should listen.”
Ibrahim Mothana is a 24-year-old Yemeni writer and activist. I first became aware of him when he wrote an extraordinary Op-Ed in the New York Times last year urging Americans to realize how self-destructive and counter-productive was Obama's escalating drone campaign in his country, writing:
At last we know. The mysterious legal authority for Barack Obama’s killer drone program flows from another administration with an elastic interpretation of executive power: that of Richard Nixon.
In a chilling 16-page dossier known simply as the White Paper, one of Obama’s statutory brains at the Justice Department cites the 1969 secret bombing of Cambodia as a legal rationale justifying drone strikes, deep inside nations, against which the United States is not officially at war.
It was 9am on a beautiful Hawai`i morning. Our drone replica was loaded into the truck. Our car windows were painted, and signs were taped to the sides. We were headed to Wheeler AFB, one of O`ahu's official drone bases - and a place where we'd never demonstrated before. Wheeler is adjacent to Schofield Barracks, one of the largest U.S. Army bases. Both are located in Wahiawa, a military town filled with pawnshops, fast food joints, rim shops and massage parlors, and we were feeling pretty apprehensive.
This is the transcript of an interview that ran on The Michael Slate Show with James Cavallaro of Stanford University, who co-authored a study titled "Living Under Drones." The interview was part of the show that aired on Pacifica radio station KPFK, Los Angeles, on January 25, 2013.
by Revolution Newspaper | March 11, 2013
Last week drones—pilotless, remote controlled aircraft which have been used by the U.S. military and spy agencies to kill thousands of people in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia and other countries—were suddenly in the news in a big way.
Eric Holder, Attorney General in the Obama administration, wrote a letter in which he refused to rule out the use of drone strikes within the U.S. in "extraordinary circumstances." Rand Paul, a right-wing senator from Kentucky, objected to the letter, and then spoke for 13 hours in a Senate "filibuster" (a maneuver to stall a vote) against Obama's nomination of John Brennan for CIA director.
“...it fits the framework for fighting a permanent global “War on Terrorism” without any geographical limitations, which the Obama administration has maintained it has the authority to wage.”
Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, who sent three letters to CIA director nominee John Brennan requesting an answer on “whether the president has the power to authorize lethal force, such as a drone strike, against a US citizen on US soil,” finally received an answer from Attorney General Eric Holder. The answer indicates the administration of President Barack Obama does, in fact, believe it has the power to assassinate US citizens on US soil with lethal force.
Former Obama White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, who now works as an MSNBC reporter, revealed yesterday (Sunday, February 24, 2013) on MSNBC that while being prepared in 2008 to assume the Press Secretary job for the incoming Obama Administration, he was specifically told to deny the drone program’s existence:
“When I went through the process of becoming press secretary, one of the first things they told me was you’re not even to acknowledge the drone program,” he explained on MSNBC. “You’re not even to discuss that it exists.”
Naming the Children Killed by U.S. Drones
I was raised during the years of World War II. During my childhood, although I was raised in New York City, I experienced war-related dreams. One of these dreams I relate directly to Dr. Mengele’s medical experiments on the bodies of children. It was the worse nightmare of my life. Another dream, one that I still experience dates from that time: There is a terrifying buzz coming at me from the sky. My entire body begins to shake. I know that I am the target, because the projectile making that sound has me in its crosshairs. I know I will surely die. I believe this dream is how a child who is about to be killed experiences a drone strike.
The CIA has killed between 475-891 children in Pakistan between the years 2004-2013; US covert action has killed between 72 and 177 children in Yemen, and 11-57 children in Somalia.
I think it's important to know about the larger context that we're now hearing, that's the militarization of law enforcement that is progressing at a breakneck pace," said Susan Harmon of Code Pink, an anti-war group.
The Alameda County Sheriff faced off with the ACLU, other activist groups and local residents before the Alameda County Board of Supervisors' Public Safety Committee in a hearing on the sheriff's plan to purchase and deploy a surveillance drone.